Hired by the local Mine owner / Fat Cat, Avery Diazo to clear out his mines and put an end to the killings surrounding the place, the Long Shots’ time of rest and healing is interrupted by a murder investigation in the small down to Telgam. The events that unfolded over the next few hours did little to abate their uneasiness of the world below the city, and have solidified Jerrede’s hostility toward the humans in town. But what’s really going on in Telgam? And what did the city’s long-entombed Vampire teach them about the city sleeping above their heads?
The Telgam Killings –
Since an accident in the mines killed eleven men, the small town of Telgam has been terrorized by a killing spree! Every three days a a water-logged, bloodless body is discovered, dumped in and around the town’s salt mine and sand pit. The Long Shots – save for the xenophobic Jerrede – set out into the city to investigate the killings and found more than they bargained for! After Bran discovered a fresh victim just inside the entrance to the mines, he was set upon by flesh-hungry Ekimmu, ghouls from the depth of the basalt caverns. Lucky to escape with his own life, Bran witnessed another four miners fall to the flesh-hungry subterranean creatures before the town and mine guards arrived with Kaderin to destroy the mindless undead.
Gripped by fear at the brazen and supernatural nature of the latest attack, the downtrodden locals began to gather in the streets – shouting accusations at the people in town that they believed were to blame. Sophia Susan – the manager of the local salt wash plant and widow of a miner – managed to organize many of the city’s unruly protesters against the city’s Silver Hall, the town’s religious center. Susan and her followers claimed that there was a monster in the catacombs beneath the Hall that the High Priest, Petre Kevril, was feeding fresh victims. The riot turned violent and the onlookers began to attack the Hall, only to be calmed down by the quick wit of Roxas and Kaderin’s social manipulations of the crowd. In the end, Kaderin convinced an ancient Earth Spirit she summoned to close up the entrance to the mines in a terrible rockslide, which sated the crowd into believing that justice had been done. By dawn, many of the rioters wound up at the White Stallion, trading stories and drink while vowing to track down the killer before they could kill again.
Restless Dead in the Mines –
The party was roused from bed early the next morning by Avery “Fat Cat” Diazo, the owner of the local mine. He offered them 120 gold up front, with another 120 on delivery, if they would clear the undead Ekimmu from his mines to render them safe to work in once again. No one was more startled than Kaderin to learn that, during the night, the mine’s entrance had been cleared of the debris left there by the Ancient Earth Spirit – though they did not have time to investigate how or why before they were ushered below the earth by the Mine’s hired security force.
Down below they found a crude temporary staircase leading down from one of the basalt mine shafts into a collapsed area of tunnels beneath. Down there, the walls were smooth carved granite and were far taller than they should have been if carved by human hands. Immediately upon striking a torch in the dark, a door slammed shut to their left and the Long Shots were set upon by Ekimmu Ghouls – some quite fresh from the recent accidents and killings in the mines and others clearly ancient and crumbling with decay.
After putting down the Ekimmu, the group set about exploring their surroundings. The ancient catacombs, swarming with restless dead, was long neglected and clearly not built by human hands. They found three paths to explore: a tunnel leading to a ladder up to a locked hatch, a doorway collapsed and blocked by debris and the door which had slammed shut on them when they first descended into the catacombs.
1. The Closed Door –
On further inspection, they found the door to be firmly locked. As usual, Kaderin tried knocking on the door and the door knocked back. Shaking on its hinges with the impact, whatever was behind the door startled them with its return knock. Determined now to get through, they employed one of Jerrede’s high-damage lightning spells, which damaged the door significantly but did not destroy it. The spiders’ return knock, however, splintered the door to tinder. The three creatures in the small room behind the door were confused and angry – summoned by an old Spell Trap set into the floor, the two huge Jump Spiders and the single massive Tunnel Spider threw themselves out the door through the debris and into the small chamber the Long Shots were standing in. The Tunnel Spider landed on Kaderin where she was standing by the door. It drove her to the ground and bit her savagely, landing two heavy bites before Bran and Jerrede could dispose of it. Roxas’ pistols nearly deafened everyone in the little room but were effective in putting down the first Jump Spider where it landed on the stairs beside him. The last spider managed to tangle Jerrede in a sticky white webbing before it skittered off, scared of the noise and carnage the tight spaces in the mine represented.
Inside the door they found a glowing silver circle set into the floor. Kaderin and Jerrede investigated it and found it to be a Spell Trap, set to go off when light strikes the silver. It was a two-fold spell – the first to close and lock the door (in hopes of trapping the invaders inside the room) and the second to begin repeatedly casting a Summon Giant Creature: Spider! spell (a homebrew spell built using the Spell Creation rules in D6: Fantasy). Without a dispel magic spell prepared, the group elected to stop the spell by destroying the silver circle. While the others heroically hid around the corner, Bran smashed the silver ring with a mining pick that Roxas had brought along with him. The blow landed just as the spell was being cast to summon the next spider. The resulting explosion shook Bran off his feet and gave the others in the group a momentary glimpse of the cave the spiders were being summoned from – a nightmarish place that will surely haunt their memories for some time.
2 – The Collapsed Passage –
With the spiders dealt with, Jerrede’s hands freed of the webbing and Kaderin’s wounds bandaged, the group set out in the direction of the next passage to clear. The collapsed section of hallway led to a rubble-strewn door. Using a mining pick and brute force, Bran proved that even earth-shaking explosions and arachnid-themed nightmare fuel can’t stop a dwarf from digging in a mine by clearing away the rubble leading to the old door. Beyond the door sat a priest, a whitecloak of the Silver Tower in his signature white cassock. The golden trim to his vestments, coupled with the golden crown he wore, identified him as the High Priest to Alethea the Bright – the Goddess of the Sun and the Harvest. As they cleared the rubble to free the patient, elderly man, he told them a story of how his grandson, Petre Kevril of Telgam’s Silver Hall, had trapped him down here years ago and had been feeding him occasionally to keep him alive. When the rubble was cleared enough for them to get through, Dayton Kevril stood from his wooden throne and took a step forward into the torchlight. The firelight stripped away the weak illusion magic that cloaked the visage behind – revealing a withered husk of a man. His flesh was papery and tight against his cheeks on his face, and the white Cassock was replaced by robes of midnight black trimmed with dirty bronze. Rather than a band of gold, a mouldering bronze crown rested on his head and in his hand was a twisted willow wand. A flick of his wand summoned up a large wolf-like creature between himself and the group and he lifted the wand for another attack…
Roxas and Kaderin stepped forward to talk him down before he could unleash the spell. After some talk, he revealed that he was indeed the great, great grandfather of Petre but that Petre’s father had trapped him down here years ago when he’d learned that Dayton had betrayed Alethea the Bright to follow a darker path. He’d been entombed down here for years, subsisting on vermin and saving his energy for the day someone cleared the rubble. He offered them a deal; bring him the 8 “bastard monsters” calling themselves Vampires from the city above and he would spare them. All they had to do was leave Roxas behind as collateral until they returned with the dead. He revealed the name of one of the “bastards”, calling her an Empusa named Catherine Donahoo. He said that she had 5 sisters in the town that they would need to bring him as well, other Empusa that she would likely be harboring in her coven. The other he called a Obayifo; a creature obsessed with food that fed on the life energy as well as the blood of his victims.
As they were set to agree to the bargain, Roxas noticed that the dog guarding the summoner was not moving or breathing. Believing it was an illusion, he communicated this to Kaderin and the two tested the theory by making for the exit! The dog pounced and landed on Jerrede, who failed to realize the illusion before taking the impact. Just about the time that the group was realizing the deceit and recovering from it, a series of very real magical attacks came from the sorcerer’s hand. The first fireball knocked all of them prone, and was followed up in the same round with an icy blast that filled the air with a thick steam. Whatever third attack the dark priest had been planning, backlashed and sent a jolt of electricity up his arm. As the flesh of his forearm burned away in the result of the botched spell, the Long Shots retaliated to the attack! Jerrede’s fire magic tore through the doorway and drove Kevril back toward his throne. Kaderin’s blessed arrows – which she’d gotten directly from Petyr in the Silver Hall above them – landed just behind Jerrede’s. The blessings on the projectiles brought a howl from the dead priest as they burned away his flesh and filled him with his former matron’s white light. Just as the light erupted from his eyes and mouth, Roxas’ gunshots shook the granite around them again, the blessed bullets powdering Dayton Kevril at last – leaving behind only his tattered vestments and a pair of dirty vampyr fangs.
3 – The Ladder at the End of the Hall –
Down the long hallway leading to the ladder, the group discovered a recently dead bovine, the bloated corpse of the cow having been partially devoured by the Ekimmu before the group had slaughtered them. This is where the evening ended. What will they find at the top of the ladder? What treasures might await in Dayton Kevril’s prison tomb? And how will the Long Shots handle the news that eight vampires are haunting the nights of the city above them?
Only time will tell.
How would you have handled this vampyr (SIC per the WEG D6 Fantasy Creatures book) encounter with your group? Want to know more about the Trials of Everrun campaign setting? Take it to the comments!
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Doesn’t “The Ladder at the End of the Hall sound like a Goosebumps book?